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Missouri Water Bill Crosses Finish-line | KTIC Radio

Missouri Water Bill Crosses Finish-line

Missouri Water Bill Crosses Finish-line

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI – The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) urges Governor Eric Greitens to sign SB 782, which passed the Senate 21-11 on Thursday, May 3, 2018. The original legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mike Cunningham (R-33), extended surface mining operating permits set to expire on December 31, 2018. During the bill’s journey through the Senate, several proposals were added including two bills important to the cattlemen’s association.

SB 823, sponsored by Sen. Dave Schatz (R-26), modifies provisions of the Missouri Clean Water Law and better defines “non-point source” in the state’s water laws. MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering said the

bill provides statutory basis to existing regulations that exempt storm water (rain) and irrigation back-flows from water pollution permit requirements.

“This bill is designed to strike vagueness in Missouri water regulations and add clarity,” said Deering. “The bill clarifies what is deemed unlawful under Missouri Clean Water Law because as the law is written now,  virtually any water contaminant in any amount whatsoever could be considered as unlawful pollution. I think most would agree this is unreasonably restrictive.”

Deering said it is not farfetched to believe a cattle producer could receive a letter stating that they are breaking the law. He also emphasized that the legislation has nothing to do with confined animal feeding operations.

“Our regulatory agencies in this state deserve to have straightforward laws in which to operate and do their jobs,” said Deering. “Farmers and ranchers also have a job to do and they need laws that are clear and easy to interpret.”

Deering said Rep. John Wiemann (R-103) carried the water language in the House and also led SB 782 to a final bipartisan 99-36 vote on May 2, 2018.

SB 782 also included SB 866, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kehoe (R-6), which requires the Division of State Parks to maintain fences coinciding with boundaries between individual landowner property and the historic Missouri Rock Island railroad corridor. Carl Elliott, MCA member and vice chairman of the association’s policy and legislative affairs committee, said the passage of this proposal is “great news” for cattle producers along the Rock Island Trail.

“The fences that were put in by the railroad many, many years ago are in desperate need of repair or replacement,” said Elliott, who owns property coinciding with the trail. “This will help maintain the boundaries and provide piece-of-mind for producers and those using this historic trail.”

The legislation now awaits final approval by Gov. Greitens.

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